Fatal Encounter

Fatal Encounter

I saw them a minute before the commencement of Lohengrin performance at the Colón Theatre. They were on the low boxes, a little above the stalls level, on my right. I glanced at them from my seat in the stalls, third row from the front. They were chatting friendly, but I knew that they were far from being friends. I averted my eyes immediately. They did not have to know I was there. However, I very well knew that every people on the stalls can be perfectly made out from the boxes, so they probably had seen me before I did. At that time, and because of my anxiety, I gave them another look and they waved at me. They were smiling and fervently waving when the lights began to dim and an off-stage voice indicated that taking photos was forbidden, with or without flash. I did not make a single movement since the theatre became dark immediately.

The play on stage was from Richard Wagner, from a period previous to his famous continuous melody. Wagner had been a great musician; even though he is still questioned on his personality nowadays. The orchestra played inspired, tuned and with a great sound, but the tenor did not have a good voice and was suffering to accomplish the demands of his role, and almost the entire play he was in another tone to avoid singing out of tune. People were upset, Lohengrin’s role cannot be sung by anyone, even if the person is German.

After the first act, lights turned on and I came back to reality. I did not want to meet them, but they came near. As soon as people left the auditorium to get coffee, champagne or simply to stretch their legs, they approached with a smile on their faces. González was the first one to greet me.

“Hello, how are you, my friend? What a delight seeing you at the theatre after so long! It’s a shame that the tenor is ruining the play.”

“I always come here,” I said, unable to smile, “but I’ve never seen you.”

“We must’ve failed to meet,” he answered without erasing that sarcastic smile on his face. And he added, “You know Munch, don’t you?” when he knew that I perfectly did.

“Yes, of course.”

The scene was pathetic. I was personally struggling to hide my dissatisfaction, but I could not; González was showing his most hypocritical side, faking an overzealous joy at seeing me, and Munch… the most accurate killer I have ever met was showing his teeth like a Doberman stalking its prey. González took me by the arm and led me to the corridor, away from Munch. His face changed completely, the smile disappeared and he looked furious. His hand squeezed my arm stronger.

“None of our acquaintances has to know that Munch and I have seen each other. Given our mutual distrust, we’ve come to Colón Theatre because it’s a public place, to arrange some businesses and because no one from our circle ever comes here. What are you doing here?”

“I’ve told you, I always come here, especially if Wagner is played.”

He glared silently at me for around a minute without uttering a word. I knew that he was analyzing if I was telling the truth or not. He was surely thinking that I had been sent there by someone else to spy on him.

“Okay, the thing is: you keep your mouth shut and nothing will happen to you. Are we clear? Otherwise, you’re a dead man and you know I don’t lie.”

“Okay,” I said with a quiet voice to calm him down.

González scowled at me again for some moments, straight to my eyes, with a penetrating look. I knew he had not believed me. At that time, the lights of the auditorium began to tilt announcing that the second act of the play was about to begin. They went back to their seats seriously and without uttering a word.

During the intermission of the second act, I headed to the golden room to drink some champagne. It soothed me. The play was absolutely good, except for the tenor, who sang more and more out of tune and never reached the right tone. That made me really nervous. It was ruining everything. The lights tilted again and I rushed downstairs to the stalls.

In the middle of the third act, after two hours and a half of performance, nothing could fix the opera; I asked for permission to the spectators at my right and headed to the corridor. They got pretty upset. I walked up some steps and, once in the other corridor, the one facing the boxes, where no assistant or vigilance man could be seen, I entered the toilet. I had to go, the champagne had produced its effect and my bladder was full.

When I went out of the bathroom, I glanced again to verify if the corridor of the boxes was empty. I headed right, the first box was numbered 22, but I moved forward to box 24. I was sure they were there. I put on the latex gloves I had in my coat’s outside pocket. Then, I took out my 9 mm Bersa pistol hidden in an inside pocket, and opened the door stealthily, not without checking the corridor again to see if someone could see me. In front of me, I saw an old man, a lady with puffy white hair, probably his wife, and other three middle-aged fancy and modern persons. González was on the farthest seats from the door, but Munch’s seat was empty. I got scared. I looked at the corridor again, but there was no one there. So, I shot González on the head, a deadly perfect shot. Then, I closed the box door, as if nothing had happened.

I did not know what to do afterwards, but I was good enough to improvise in extreme situations. Screams and whisperings were heard on the auditorium, but the orchestra did not stop playing. I darted through the corridor to the toilet and I planned to hide the unidentified and unmarked gun in one of the water tanks.

And there he was, Munch. When I saw his empty seat, I figured out that he had gone to the stalls to get me, but I did not know what he was planning to do after realizing I was gone. Maybe he was coming back to the box when he heard the shot and thought about hiding in the toilet. Anyway, I could not use the gun; a single shot would have given us away, so I put it in my coat’s inner pocket and took out my KA-BAR TDI LDK knife, small and modest at first sight but fatal if used properly.

He was not surprised at seeing me and did not even blink. The man had always had cold blood and he was regarded one of the best because of that. But I was as good as or even better than him. Munch thought as I did, of course, so he did not take out a gun but an enormous knife.

The fight was unequal, but not due to the sizes of the knives. Munch was excellent with firearms at the distance, but he was also a big heavy man. I had always been small and agile, and I had hundreds of hours of training on cold steel attacks. So, after a jump, I stuck my knife in his throat and he could not even react. He was a dead man already, but I assured it with a final “touch”.

I cleaned myself with some cleaning elements I always carry in my coat. In a few seconds, I checked on the mirror that no stain was left. I put the gun, the cloth, the red stained cottons and the knife in the water tank over the toilet. I sat Munch’s body on it and closed the door. I did not bother to clean the floor. I went out the corridor and everything was chaos. There were policemen everywhere, so I hurried back to the stalls, since I had nothing to do where I was standing. Had they identified me as a spectator from the stalls, I would have had to give many explanations, and saying I was coming from the toilet would have only helped to incriminate myself. Colón Theatre people, especially those in the stalls, seldom stand up in the middle of the plays.

After a while, the body was discovered. I knew it because of the screams of the policemen. It was going to be a long night, but I had made a clean job and I was confident. That was why I had been sent there. I had earned good money with my performance. Next time, I only wish I would listen to a good tenor.

Translated by Flavia Marcos and Natalia Riera: Rima Traducciones

Escribo, tomo fotografías artísticas y analizo música clásica y rock, literatura, historia medieval y me atrevo con las noticias de Argentina y del mundo.

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